Category Archives: Nightlife
Bars, pubs, nightclubs, live music
If you think bingo is just for pensioners, you’re very much mistaken. In recent years, modern approaches to bingo has been gaining popularity with younger generations. In late 2018, London’s first permanent modern bingo hall opened and I went along to check it out last month. Like traditional bingo, it involves dabbing your numbers in the hope of winning a prize when your numbers are called. However, Dabbers Social Bingo involves a lot of saucy innuendo, cocktails galore, fabulous food and a general party atmosphere.
Dabbers Social Bingo is located on Houndsditch, where the City meets the East End. From the street, you enter a medium-sized bar with outdoor terrace (would be great in summer, but definitely not in January thanks!). I liked the fact the cocktail bar gives no hint of the wildness to come downstairs! After a glass of Prosecco to loosen us up, we headed down to the expansive bingo hall in the basement. It was a surprisingly large space with a variety of tables to suit different sizes from couples to larger groups of friends.
After my companion and I grabbed a well-situated table with a view of the stage, we started with simple, but refreshing pink gin cocktails and settled down for some pre-bingo grub. The food menu has been inspired by bingo balls so features many physically round dishes. It consists mostly of sharing plates, sort of tapas style portions in the spirit of the ‘social’ part of the game. They range from £4-£9.50 and have a wide choice, with a decent amount of vegetarian options. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the food was as I had expected it to take a back seat to the bingo, entertainment and cocktails. We really enjoyed the seared prawn tiger skewers, buffalo glazed chicken skewers, mozzarella ball skewers and pizza bread. It’s worth noting they have brunch bingo on Saturdays and family brunch bingo on Sundays.
Once we were fed and watered, it was time for the main event to kick off. Our compere for the evening was the fabulous Boogaloo Stu. After Stu gave us an introduction to the night, it was over to host James Loveridge and the glamorous bingo calling duo. Bingo newbies are given an explanation to the rules and prizes, before the first game kicks off at a steady pace. While there’s some traditional bingo lingo like ‘legs eleven’, be prepared for some very saucy numerical rhyming, which can be hilariously distracting when you’re trying to strike off your numbers. At various points during the game, a special ball being drawn kicks off a mini disco with the crowd encouraged to drop their dabbers and throw some shapes as the DJ cranks up the music. Throughout the game, people who win one or two lines or a full house are invited on stage to compete for a prize. By this stage, the alcoholic lubrication and the building excitement in the room had clearly got some of the winners as they got on stage so their enthusiastic celebrations were pretty jubilant and amusing to the rest of us in the room.
Overall, we had a really fun evening and it was probably the most raucous Wednesday night I’ve seen in years! The food and drink were brilliant and there was a really fun, high-energy atmosphere. Dabbers certainly offers a more entertaining alternative to the usual catch-up in the a pub, with the added bonus of being able to walk away with a prize. I would particularly recommend Dabbers for group nights out, particularly for birthdays and hen nights.
- Dabbers Social Bingo, 13-22 Houndsditch, City of London, EC3A 7DB. Nearest stations: Aldgate, Liverpool Street or Fenchurch Street. Open Mon-Wed and Sun 12pm-11pm, Thu-Sat 12pm-3am. For more information, visit the Dabbers Social Bingo website.
For more of Metro Girl’s restaurant and bar reviews, click here.
Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day, are single or loved up, there’s something for everyone in London over the Valentine’s Day period. From slushfest romantic dates to fun and cheese-free events.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching so Londoners everywhere are being bombarded with images of hearts and roses. Of course, it’s a commercial day which encourages you to spend money on your beloved. If you’re in a couple and looking for something a bit different from the standard overpriced set menu in a restaurant, check out this guide to what’s on in London. Many of the events, such as balls and comedy nights, are open to singles and couples, so you can still have fun and embrace the day regardless of your single status.
- 9 February : Lost Hearts – A Valentine’s Ball
A masked ball spanning four floors at the Century Club, featuring eerie, exotic and eccentric performers, drinking and dancing. 9pm-3am. Tickets from £20. The Century Club, 61-63 Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho, W1D 6LQ. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit A Curious Invitation website.
- 9 February : The Candlelight Club’s Valentine’s Ball
Pop-up vintage nightclub The Candlelight Club host a Valentine’s ball. Hosted by Champagne Charlie, there will live music from the Bubbly Boys, tunes from vintage DJs Bee’s Knees and dancing from the Gatsby Girls. Meanwhile, in the Cabaret Lounge, Hot Swing Bohème will be playing gypsy jazz, while Marcel Lucont will host two cabaret shows featuring acrobatics duo Deux Ailes, burlesque bombshell Bonnie Fox and comic singing by La Poule Plombée. Despite Valentine’s styling, the event welcomes groups and singles, rather than just couples. 7pm-12am. Tickets from £30pp. Tables start from £65pp. At a secret east London location. For tickets, visit the Candlelight Club website. For Metro Girl’s review of TCC, click here.
- 10 and 14 February : Valentine’s @ Keat’s House
A series of Valentine’s events at the stunning house where poet John Keats fell in love with Fanny Brawne, who inspired his most romantic verses. Afternoon Poems: Love Poetry on Sunday 10 February (2pm-3pm) and Valentine’s Late Night Keats on Thursday 14 February (6.30pm-9pm). Afternoon Poems is free, while Late Night Keats is £15 (includes drink). Keats’ House, 10 Keats Grove, Hampstead, NW3 2RR. Nearest station: Hampstead Heath or Hampstead. For more information, visit the City of London website.
- 11 – 17 February : Chocolate Cocktails @ Old Bengal Bar
The Old Bengal Bar are creating a special chocolate cocktail menu for Valentine’s Day. Drinks include Dark Chocolate and Chilli Martini, White Chocolate Delight and a Baileys and Mint Chocolate Martini. Drinks: £9.75 (include complimentary mint chocolate shot). Old Bengal Bar, 16 New Street, City of London, EC2M 4TR. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit the Old Bengal Bar website.
- 12 – 15 February : Barry White: Love God of Soul: Starring Shenton Dixon @ Boisdale
The Canary Wharf branch of Boisdale is hosting four days of music and food, inspired by the late Barry White. Tribute act Shenton Dixon will perform the Walrus of Soul’s classic hits while you enjoy a meal. Gig starts at 9.15pm. Tickets: £15-£99 (depending on date, package or drinks only). Boisdale, Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, E14 4QT. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Boisdale website.
- 13 – 14 February : Valentine’s @ Dirty Bones
Dirty Bones in Kensington are celebrating Valentine’s with special events and menus. On 13 February, enjoy a screening of When Harry Met Sally with popcorn, 2 cocktails and 25% food discounts if you eat before, after or during the movie. On actual Valentine’s Day, you can take part in the ‘Uh Huh Honey Cocktail Masterclass’ and learn how to make Dirty Bones’ Valentine’s cocktail, the Rose-Tinted Club (available 11-17 Feb). Film screening on Wed 13 Feb @ 7.30pm, tickets £10pp. Masterclass on Thu 14 Feb @ 6.30pm, tickets £45pp. Dirty Bones, Kensington Church Street, Kensington, W8. Nearest station: High Street Kensington. For more information, visit Dirty Bones website. To book masterclass, email Kensington@dirty-bones.com or for movie tickets, check out DesignMyNight.
- 13 – 15 February : Pop-Up Cinema @ Rivoli Ballroom
Watch classic movies Pretty Woman, Romeo + Juliet or Ghost in the striking 1950s surrounds of the Rivoli Ballroom. 8pm. Tickets: £12. Rivoli Ballroom, 350 Brockley Road, Crofton Park, SE4 2BY. Nearest station: Crofton Park. For more information, visit the Rivoli Ballroom website. Read the rest of this entry
Find out what shows to check out at this year’s Vault Festival, the capital’s very own fringe arts festival running from 23 January – 17 March.
Vault Festival is returning to Waterloo this January for two months of entertainment. London’s very own fringe festival is back in the atmospheric Victorian tunnels below Waterloo mainline station. Over eight weeks, over 2,000 artists will perform in over 400 shows. Londoners will be entertained by theatre, comedy, cabaret, immersive experiences, late night parties and more. Now in its seventh year, Vault Festival runs from 23 January to 17 March 2019. As well as giving a platform to rising new talents from the arts world, proceeds from ticket sales go to Help Refugees and Child.org’s Team Mum campaign.
Here’s Metro Girl’s recommendations of shows to check out at the Vault Festival 2019:
- Fool Britannia
Pay a visit to Britain’s worst school! Masters of the absurd Dan Lees and Neil Frost take you back to your school days with an hour of side-splitting comedy. Taunt the supply teacher, bunk off PE and get caught smoking behind the bike shed.
23 – 26 January. Brick Hall @ The Vaults. Tickets: £12. For more information and tickets, click here.
- Yours Sincerely
A queer coming-of-age comedy exploring the complications of communicating in the 21st century. After accidentally stealing 300 2nd class stamps, Will Jackson decides to revive letter writing as he puts pen to paper and gets in touch with old friends and ex-boyfriends. Based on actual correspondence, Will tells the story through the letters and lip-sync cabaret. The show was originally produced by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in November 2018 for their Foundry Artist festival.
30 January – 3 February. Cage @ The Vaults. Tickets: £12. For more information and tickets, click here.
A thought-provoking new play by Sara Aniqah Malik explores what it means to be a Muslim in London today. Telling the story through two Muslim women using live music and performance, Salaam explores mental health issues and racial abuse.
30 January – 3 February. Cavern @ The Vaults. Tickets: £15. For more information and tickets, click here.
Go on a universal quest to find hope in a galaxy of loneliness. A lone astronaut is on a one-way mission the edge of the universe. This Dublin Fringe play is presented by Nessa Matthews with Eoghan Carrick.
A guide to London’s best Burns’ Night events
A cold January night is the perfect time to tuck into some hearty Scottish fare and a dram or two of whisky. January 25 is an annual festivity to mark the birthday of Scottish poet Robert ‘Robbie’ Burns, who died in 1796. Traditionally, people feast on soup, haggis, tatties and neeps, washed down with lots of whisky to celebrate his life and poetry. With a host of Scots living in London, there are tons of Burns’ Night celebrations.
- Burns’ Dinner and Music @ Boisdale Mayfair (22 – 26 January)
Scottish restaurant chain Boisdale will be hosting a series of Burns evenings, featuring four-course meals and matching wines and whisky with live bagpiper. Menus £74.50pp.
– Boisdale, 12 North Row, Mayfair, W1K 7DF. Nearest station: Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Boisdale website.
- Week Of Burns @ Mac & Wild (22 – 28 January)
Scottish eaterie Mac & Wild will be celebrating with a whole week of Burns inspired menu and events at their two London locations. Including a Silent Ceilidh (25 Jan), Haggis Making Masterclasses and Burns’ Night tasting menu. Foods on offer include the Haggis, Neeps and Tatties Burger and Deep-Fried Mars Bars.
– Mac & Wild Fitzrovia: 65 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PS (Nearest station: Oxford Circus) or Mac & Wild City: 9A Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M 4YN (Nearest station: Liverpool Street). For booking and more information, visit the Mac & Wild website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of Mac & Wild.
- Burns’ Night Supper @ Cub (25 January)
Progressive Hebridean Distillers (PHD) will be showcasing their Port Charlotte Whisky and The Botanist Gin at Cub. Guests will enjoy a Burns-inspired 10 course set menu of 5 dishes and 5 drinks. Tickets: £75pp.
– Cub, 153 Hoxton Street, Hoxton, N1 6PJ. Nearest stations: Old Street or Hoxton. For more information, visit LyanCub.com.
- Bobby Burns Party @ The Little Blue Door (25 January)
The flatmates from The Little Blue Door are teaming up with Scottish foodies Mac & Wild, Islay legends Port Charlotte Whisky and The Botanist Gin are hosting a Robbie Burns’ party. Featuring complimentary drinks and Haggis Pops. Dress code: Tart or tartan. From 7pm-1am.
– The Little Blue Door, 871-873 Fulham Road, Fulham, SW6 5HP. Nearest station: Parsons Green. For more information, visit The Little Blue Door Facebook page. Check out Metro Girl’s review of The Little Blue Door. Read the rest of this entry
Find out what’s on in London this New Year’s Eve 2018. Including the top parties and events in central, north, south, east and west London.
What a year 2018 has been! While some of you may have enjoy the year, there’s some others that can’t wait to put it behind them. However, 2019 is sure to be a year of uncertainty and change for Londoners as the UK leaves the EU. But whatever the new year holds, why not make the start of it a good one.
This New Year’s Eve, there will be a wide range of entertainment and activities to suit all tastes. From clubbing to themed parties to posh dinners to concerts. Many of these events will set out in advance, so make sure you get your tickets as soon as possible.
Most events are over 18s, unless otherwise stipulated.
Don’t forget, TFL will be providing free public transport from 11.45pm on New Year’s Eve until 4.30am on New Year’s Day.
- New Year’s Eve firework display over the River Thames
Thousands expected to take to the north and south of the River to watch the fireworks display near the London Eye. Tickets went on sale in November so tend to sell out well in advance. There will be a lot of congestion or potential closures of some tube stations around the Embankments so check with TFL before you travel. Tickets: £10. For more information of where you can and can’t access without a ticket, visit the London.gov.uk website.
- New Year’s Eve @ View From The Shard
Watch the fireworks from the highest party in London, featuring DJs, complimentary champagne toast and 360 degree view of the capital. 10pm-2am. Tickets from £199. View From The Shard, Floor 72, Joiner Street, London Bridge, SE1 9QU. Nearest station: London Bridge. For booking, visit View From The Shard.
- A Vintage New Year’s Eve @ Cahoots
Vintage lovers will enjoy this post-war shenangians in an old underground war shelter, featuring a Moet & Chandon champagne reception, Bottomless cocktails, live entertainment by the Hotsie Totsies, New Year’s Eve toast and DJ set by The Roustabouts. Dress code: Post-war chic. 8pm-3am. Tickets: £150pp (includes a table for the evening, Moët & Chandon champagne reception, Bottomless cocktails all night and food rations & canapés). Cahoots, 13 Kingly Court, Soho, W1B 5PW. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For booking, visit the Cahoots website. For Metro Girl’s review of Cahoots, click here.
- New Year’s Eve Snow Ball @ Tropicana Beach Club
Tropical themed night club has a wintry makeover, featuring live entertainment, DJs playing R’n’B, party anthems, and Latin beats under a snowball installation. 6pm-4am. Tickets £30-£70. Tropicana Beach Club, New London Theatre, Parker Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5PW. Nearest station: Covent Garden. For more information, visit the Tropicana Beach Club website.
- Studio 54 New Year’s Eve @ Sky Garden
Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the top of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ in the bars and restaurants of the Sky Garden with views over London. Relive the glamour of Studio 54 with food, drink, nine-piece live party band and DJs. 6pm-2am. Tickets range from £110-£395 depending on bar or dining package. Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, City of London, EC3M 3BY. Nearest station: Fenchurch Street or Monument. For booking, visit the Sky Garden website. For Metro Girl’s review of the Sky Garden, click here.
- Mr Fogg’s Victorian Masquerade Ball
This fabulous masquerade ball kicks off with a Moët & Chandon Champagne and canapé reception. Expect entertainment and bottomless Bombay Sapphire and Star of Bombay libations, opera singers, a silhouette artist, Victorian games and DJs playing electro swing. 8pm-3am. Table tickets: £145pp, Bar tickets: £90pp. Mr. Fogg’s Residence, 15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, WIJ 6JD. Nearest station: Bond Street or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Mr Fogg’s website.
- New Year’s Eve Stand Up Show @ Comedy Store
See in the new year laughing your socks off with Tom Lucy, Shappi Khorsandi, Larry Dean, Rhys James, London Hughes, Mark Simmons, MC Laura Lexx, Zoe Lyons, Christian Reilly, Nigel Ng and Larry Dean. There are two shows – an early one if you’ve got plans for midnight or the later one, with a DJ spinning tracks for the after-party. Two shows at 6pm and 9.30pm. Finishes at 2am. Tickets start from £25 (early show) or £50 (late show and after party). The Comedy Store, 1a Oxendon Street, SW1Y 4EE. Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Comedy Store website.
- The Prohibition Party
Welcome the new year, 1920s style at this prohibition-themed party from Bourne & Hollingsworth, featuring live music, gramophone DJs, gambling, dancers and cocktails. Dress code: 1920s. 9pm-3am. Tickets from £55. In a secret London location to be revealed two weeks before. For more information, visit the Prohibition Party website. Read the rest of this entry
At this time of year, a rooftop bar isn’t always a natural choice for a night out. However, this season, City of London drinking destination Madison have given their terrace a winter makeover. Their outdoor space has been turned into an enticing, cosy festive hideout, with a special winter drinks menu of hot aperitifs.
Last week, I went along with a friend to check out Madison’s new seasonal menu and to try their winter warmers. Madison is a restaurant and bar spanning the top floor of the One New Change complex and boasts amazing views of neighbouring St Paul’s Cathedral and the capital skyline. I’ve previously visited the bar for summer alfresco drinks and have always enjoyed their cocktails so was looking forward to seeing what they could do with the changing season.
The night of our visit was pretty cold, but fortunately Madison are well prepared with patio heaters and cosy faux fur and tartan blankets to snuggle up under. Their rooftop space features a series of alpine-inspired chalets with twinkling lights, which really gives it a Christmassy atmosphere.
As well as their usual wine and cocktail list, Madison’s bartenders have curated a special Hot Aperitifs menu featuring a selection of six warm cocktails. My friend and I both have a sweet tooth so the Chocolate Delight (Bulleit Whisky, chocolate and salted caramel) seemed like a good place to start. There was just a hint of the whisky’s smokiness, but it was predominantly sweet. The cocktail did remind me of a boozy hot chocolate and was very easy to drink. As a regular gin connoisseur, I also couldn’t resist trying the Aromatic Genever (Gin and green apple), which was pretty strong with a hint of fruitiness. Meanwhile, my friend went for a more traditional Christmas drink – a Vin Brule (Italian Mulled Wine), which she really enjoyed.
Aside from our hot concoctions, we also ordered a sharing platter from the bar menu. We ate a selection of warm snacks, including tallegio and walnut arancini (my personal favourite), buttermilk chicken, sautéed mini chorizo sausage and smoked tomato hummus with seeded crackers. There was a good, tasty variety of food and the selection was a great accompaniment for a cocktail session.
Overall, we had a great evening. The service was friendly and attentive, while the atmosphere was very festive. Despite the cool outside temperature, we felt very cosy during our few hours on the roof thanks to the heaters and blankets. The cocktail menu had something for everyone’s tastes, although I particularly loved the Chocolate Delight, which really lived up to its name. I’ll definitely be returning for some Christmas drinks.
- Madison (rooftop terrace), 1 New Change, City of London, EC4M 9AF. Nearest station: St Paul’s. The rooftop terrace chalets is open from 7 November 2018 – 28 February 2019. Open daily 4pm until late. To book a chalet, contact the Madison London events team on firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information, visit the Madison London website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in Febuary, click here.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar reviews, click here.
Christmas is fast approaching and there’s a host of festive pop-ups opening around London. Here’s a guide to the capital’s Christmassy bars and terraces, as well as some of the seasonal cocktails on offer at some of the regular bars.
Around the capital, a host of festive experiences are popping up around the capital. A host of London’s top bars have curated special festive cocktail menus. From Christmas pop-up bars and cosy terraces to winter wonderlands, here’s the best places to have festive fun.
Many London bars and restaurants have created special festive cocktails for the Christmas period, available for a limited time only. Here’s some of London’s top Christmas concoctions.
- The Lobby Bar @ One Aldwych
The Lobby Bar at the luxury One Aldwych hotel has created five Christmas cocktails to sip while looking at their 25ft amazing Snow Dome Christmas Tree. Father Negroni (Beefeater 24 gin, Cinnamon Campari and Antica Formula); Jungle Bells (Havana Club 7, Angostura Reduction, Lime Juice, Sugar Syrup and Crème Des Prunelles); Mulled Berries (Tequila Altos Silver, Mulled Wine, Agave Syrup, Lime Juice and Pedrino Tonic); Rose Stardust (Absolut Elix, Raspberry and Rose Shrub, Orange Juice, Disaronno Amaretto, Grapefruit Juice and Rose Lemonade); and Warm Gift (Maker’s Mark, Double Cream, Mozart Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Syrup, Pedro Ximénez, Frangelico, Vanilla Bitters and Tabasco).
– One Aldwych, 1 Aldwych, Covent Garden, WC2B 4BZ. Nearest stations: Covent Garden or Temple. For more information, visit the One Aldwych website.
- The Little Blue Door
‘The Flatmates’ are hosting festive feasts throughout December with a host of cocktail specials. Featuring the Mince Pie Martinis served with mini mince pies and EggNog Whiskey Flips with Grated Nutmeg. Check out Metro Girl’s review on The Little Blue Door.
– The Little Blue Door, 871-873 Fulham Road, Fulham, SW6 5HP. Nearest station: Parsons Green. For more information, visit the The Little Blue Door website.
- Dirty Martini
The sleek bar chain has created a special festive menu, available at its seven central London locations. Includes The Bellringer (Amaretto Disaronno, cranberry juice, blood orange syrup, topped with Prosecco); Grinch’s Espresso Martini (Absolut Vodka, Kahlua, DM Homemade Christmas Syrup, Fresh Espresso, Chocolate Bitters, Gingerbread Foam); and Santa’s Punch (Ketel One Oranje Vodka, Bold Liqueur, Pimento Dram, DM Homemade Xmas Syrup. Fresh Pomegranate Juice, Lime Juice, Orange Bitters). All £9.50.
– Dirty Martini, branches at Bishopsgate, Covent Garden, Hanover Square, Islington, Minories, Monument and St Paul’s.
Dockside restaurant and bar Bōkan have created a special festive drink to enjoy along with the views of the City. The Hot Mulled Sloe cocktail incorporates Sipsmith gin, spice mulled cloudy apple juice and a slice of orange. £9.
– Bōkan, (Floor 37-39), 40 Marsh Wall, Canary Wharf, E14 9TP. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Bokan website.
- Cantina Laredo
Mexican restaurant Cantina Laredo has created a quirky festive cocktail – Brussel Sprout infused margaritas – to accompany their ultimate festive feasting menus.
– Cantina Laredo, 10 Upper St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, WC2H 9FB. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. For more information, visit Cantina Laredo’s website.
There’s a host of Christmas pop-ups in London this season. Expect plenty of hot booze, comfort food, fake snow, Christmas trees and sparkling lights.
- 6 November – 24 December : The Winter Forest
Seasonal pop-up returns to Broadgate Circle in the City of London. Featuring 300 snow-covered pine trees, twinkling lights, cosy wood cabins, live music, festive quiz nights (Mons), craft classes, Father Christmas, art exhibition and plenty of hot food and drink. Free.
This year sees Backyard Cinema launching their biggest film events to date. Setting up camp at festive experience Winterville is the Christmas Labyrinth. I’ve been going to Backyard Cinema events for several years and am always impressed by the various theme they come up with. It’s safe to say they’ve surpassed their previous themes with a fantastically Christmassy immersive experience on Clapham Common.
The Christmas Labyrinth is one of two Backyard Cinema’s festive screening experiences – the other being The Snowman Experience at Winter Wonderland. This year, Backyard Cinema has taken over a large section of Winterville, with their huge, cosy tent hosting two screening rooms, a huge labyrinth adventure, cinemas bars, as well as a lobby bar with live entertainment.
Upon arrival, you can stop for a drink at the bar or head straight in to start your journey. Our evening began in a magical room, with a mysterious voice urging us to choose one of four different doors. I’m used to taking a special route to get to Backyard Cinema’s screening room, but this year’s Labyrinth experience is clearly much bigger, with many choices for the visitor. Although you are encouraged to take a separate door from your friend, my pal and I decided to take the same one and headed into the ‘Jester’ door, being the pair of jokers are we (according to my friend!). Our journey through the maze was disorientating, confusing, but exciting as we figured out what way to go. Finally, we ended up in a twinkling forest – which made me feel like I was in Narnia – which opened to the screening room.
While the previous Backyard beanbags have always been comfortable, there’s some higher, bulkier and even cosier ones for their new Winterville home. My friend and I claimed a good set of beanbags with a prime position and headed to the nearby bar for some festive drinks. There’s a selection of craft beer, soft drinks, wine, prosecco and winter warmers. I’m a sucker for hot booze at the time of year so a mulled cider and rum was an easy choice… one I made twice as it happens. As you would expect for a cinema, there’s the typical snacks, including Proper Corn popcorn and pic and mix sweets. The bar is open throughout the screening should you feel the need to refresh yourself.
On our visit last week, we were watching the musical film The Greatest Showman starring Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron. We had never seen it before and I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. Throughout the film, I was really comfortable all settled in the beanbag, although I did use one of the BC provided blankets towards the last half hour to warm me up even further. Overall, it was a entertaining evening and the labyrinth was a creative and fun way to enter the cinema. Tickets are already sold out for many dates in the run-up to Christmas so I recommend buying them ASAP.
- Backyard Cinema’s Christmas Labyrinth runs until 22 December 2018. At Winterville (entrance just north of the Long Pond), Clapham Common, SW4 9BX. Nearest stations: Clapham Common or Clapham South. Tickets: Adults from £18.98, Children from £9.98. Stalls, premium and loungers available. For booking, visit the Backyard Cinema website.
- Backyard Cinema Presents: The Snowman™ Experience at Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, W2. Under 6 January 2019. Nearest stations: Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch. Tickets (vary between standard, off-peak, and peak): Adults/teen £9.95-£14.95, Children £6.96-£12.95. For booking, visit the Winter Wonderland website. Read Metro Girl’s review of the Snowman Experience.
To find out what’s on in London in December, click here.
For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
Turning bingo on its head – cocktails, grub, DJs and amazing prizes as Dabbers Social Bingo opens in London
There’s a permanent new modern bingo hall for the younger generations launching in London this December 2018.
Think bingo is just a tame evening activity for pensioners? Think again! Unless you’ve been hiding a rock, you may have heard of a resurgence of bingo in recent years. New generations of Londoners, from Generation X-ers to Millennials have been enjoying the more raucous, modern take on bingo at festivals and one-off evenings.
Coming this December on the fringes of the City and the East End is Dabbers Social Bingo. Opening on Houndsditch, this will be the UK’s first, permanent modern bingo venue. Founder Ed Wethered has teamed up with the gang behind Musical Bingo, Gospeloke, and Comedy House Party, with backing from the founder of Picturehouse Cinemas.
Dabbers is reinventing the classic game with interactive game show elements, sought-after prizes and fabulous food and drinks. Expect cocktails instead of tea, comedians stepping into the bingo callers role and incredible experiences as prizes.
As soon as you enter the venue, the lobby will pay tribute to the game’s heritage with memorabilia from the past. Grab a drink from the lively bar while listening to the live DJ. Next, grab your bingo cards and your ‘gaming drink’ ready to take your seat in the bingo arena. You have the choice of social bingo tables if you’re up for meeting some new friends or a more intimate experience in the banquette tables. Alternatively, groups can hire one of the Baller Booths and receive a free bottle of fizz. During the game, expect to be impressed by the custom-made bingo blower machine, glittering lights, pyrotechnics and a sensational sound system.
During the week will be a variety of themed nights to suit different tastes. Vintage Bingo on Tuesday will offer a more literal interpretation of the classic game hosted by veteran bingo callers. Travel junkies should head to Dabbers on Friday for Bingo Voyage, with the main prize offering a weekend away. If you fancy a boogie, head to Disco Bingo on Saturday nights for a real party atmosphere with UV lights, while Family Brunch bingo on Sunday lunchtimes are open to families.
On the drinks menu will be a selection of craft beers, cocktails and a decent wine list. As well as booze and bingo, there will also be the ‘Well Rounded Menu’, offering round food. Including treats such as melon balls wrapped in ham to round Waffles with ample Crumble and Cinnamon Sugar (vegans and vegetarians catered for too).
- Dabbers Social Bingo, 13 – 22 Houndsditch, City of London, EC3A 7DB. Nearest stations: Aldgate or Fenchurch Street. Open Mon-Wed and Sun 12pm-11pm, Thu-Sat 12pm-3am. Dabbers Social Bingo officially launches on 3 December 2018 (soft opening from 28 November 2018). For more information, visit the Dabbers Bingo website.
For the latest guide to what’s on in London, click here.
QUEENS Skate Dine Bowl has added a new attraction to its versatile venue – a rinkside bar and diner. The Sin Bin offers beers, cocktails and burgers just moments from the action on the ice. What’s special about QUEENS is that you can do more than ice skating on its indoor rink – it also offers opportunities to play ice hockey or go ice karting or curling.
I went along to the launch last week to try the Sin Bin’s cocktails and burgers and make my second attempt at curling. Despite being rinkside, the bar is thankfully lovely and cosy with heaters warming you up after you’ve been chilling on the ice. The long, slender space has a dive bar vibe with plenty of seating, including many stools looking out on the rink. The rinkside setting means people who don’t feel confident on the ice can watch their companions in action from a more comfortable, non-slip space.
When it came to drinks, we decided on cocktails from their menu of creative originals, mostly reasonably priced around the £7.50-£8.50 mark. I tried a lovely, sweet Silver Angel (Finlandia vodka with peach and passion fruit topped with fizz), while my boyfriend opted for a St Lawrence (Woodford Reserve with maple syrup, lemon juice and a dash of bitters). I continued the vodka theme with a Henrietta Fizz (Grey Goose Poire vodka with pear, strawberry and fresh lemon topped with fizz), which was deliciously light, something that would make a great aperitif.
The food menu is from MEATliquor, who have already established a diner at QUEENS. MEATliquor’s full menu is available to Sin Bin diners, including popular favourites, Hot Mess (hash browns with blue cheese sauce, jalapenos, buffalo sauce and pickles), deep-friend mac ‘n’ cheese, and chicken wings. During our visit, my boyfriend and I had the cheeseburger (beef patty, cheese, red onions, pickles, lettuce, French’s mustard and ketchup) and the halloumi and mushroom burger (halloumi, mushroom, red onions, pickles, lettuce, French’s mustard and ketchup) respectively. When it comes to food of a ‘fast’ nature, I don’t always have high expectations, however we agreed our burgers were really tasty and I could have easily eaten a second. Our burgers were accompanied by some delicious Cajun fries, with the seasoning really giving them an extra something.
During the evening, we stepped on to the ice for a spot of curling. I had tried it a year ago and was pretty bad. However, this year the shoe grips were slightly different and I felt a bit more stable on the ice. This time, we also had access to brooms as well as the curling stones. We were given instructions by experienced curlers and managed to pull off a pretty good game for a bunch of amateurs. It was a lot of fun and definitely offers something a bit different to your usual night out with a group of friends.
As well as the various ice activities, MEATliquor and the Sin Bin, QUEENS also has a bowling alley and arcade. There’s currently plans to expand the site further with five private bowling lanes, the Liquor Lanes, in the near future.
- The Sin Bin @ Queens, 17 Queensway, W2 4PQ. Nearest station: Queensway or Bayswater. Open Sun-Thu 12pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-12am. For more information and booking, visit the Queens website.